Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

Professor William Rockey, Bakersfield College

This site provides examples of instructional resources created in the Humanizing Online STEM Academy, a professional development program funded by the California Education Learning Lab and administered by the Foothill DeAnza Community College District.


Where I was.

My only experience teaching online was out of necessity during the COVID pandemic. Given the constraints of the pandemic I felt relieved that I was able to provide my students with an online replacement of their face-to-face course. At the same time, I recognized there was great potential for a more meaningful interactive online learning experience if the right digital technologies were utilized. I was glad to have the opportunity to tap into the expansive possibilities of improving online learning when I started the Humanizing STEM Academy.

Where I am.

At this point I feel much more equipped to provide a high-quality learning environment for online students. It's helpful for me to be aware of how many details of the course can affect students' perceptions and attitudes. With all the adjustments to my online course I keep in mind the overarching goal of supporting student learning. If my actions can make but a small difference in encouraging students to engage with challenging course material then I know it's worthwhile.

Where I am going.

I will continually reflect and listen to students' questions and concerns. I will consider all feedback and engage in dialogue with students about how to best support them. I enjoy learning as an instructor and I look forward to incorporating all the innovative tools I've picked up in this Humanizing STEM Academy.

Liquid Syllabus

This is a friendly introduction to both myself and the course. I provide students with what's expected of them in the course, my teaching philosophy, and what they'll need to get started along with links to additional resources. It's a great way to ensure students start off on the right track.

Course Card with woman exercising

Course Card

I chose an image of a woman exercising to create a welcoming front door for this Human Anatomy & Physiology course. This image might help students visualize how this subject applies to normal life outside the classroom.


My homepage welcomes students with the greeting, "I'm glad you're here!" I provide them with an easy access "Start here" link which they can use to access the content of the course. This serves as an initial kindness cue that I am here to help them.

Getting to know you Survey

Students complete a survey in which they provide some basic information I can use to understand who they are and what they'll need to be successful. For example, I ask them "What is the one thing that is most likely to interfere with your success in this class?" and "What can I do to support you?". The data from this survey will allow me to respond to specific students in an empathetic way when I understand their own constraints regarding work, family, health, etc.

Wisdom Wall

This optional assignment allows students to share what they've learned about how to succeed in the course at the end of the semester. This wisdom is shared with future students as they enter the course to give them another perspective of advice.

Bumper Video

This video fits into the skeletal system lab portion of the course where students must identify specific bones of the skull. I made this bumper video to clarify for students which section of the model to find each of the bones listed in their activity. This gives them a helpful boost in the lab if they're feeling lost in this activity and unsure about which slice to look at on the model.


This microlecture fits into the muscular system part of the course where we learn the physiology of how skeletal muscle fibers are stimulated by motor neurons. This video supports students in achieving the learning objective of describing an action potential. Having the ability to replay the sections that students struggle with should help them out with this challenging topic.